Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s camp and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said they were not behind the emergency alerts advocating the presidential bid of the late dictator’s son.
Marcos’s chief of staff Vic Rodriguez claimed the incident was a “demolition job” perpetrated by people against the former senator’s candidacy.
“BBM and his family received similar alert notification. We should not tolerate any group or groups’ underhanded moves to trivialize this very special tool meant to forewarn every single Filipino of an impending, actual or post-disaster event or scenario,” he said in a statement.
The alert message read: “Buong Buo ang Malasakit sa Bansa. Buong Buhay ang Maialay sa taong bayan. Bagong Bukas na Masagana para sa masa. BaBangon Muli ang Pilipinas. BBM sa bansa, BBM sa taong bayan, BBM sa Masa.. BBM Pilipinas!!! #BBM2022.”
The NDRRMC also denied involvement in the sending of the emergency alert.
“We wish to clarify that the NDRRMC does not issue this type of message for distribution to the public through our telco partners,” NDRRMC deputy spokesman Mark Timbal told reporters in a text message.
“Our usage of the emergency mobile alerts system only follows the prescription of [Republic Act] 10639 or the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Law which requires that warning messages must be hazard-specific, time-bound, and area-specific,” he added.
According to Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez, “there is no penalty specifically for the use of emergency channels for campaigning – at least not under electoral laws.”
“While there is no doubt that this use of the emergency alert system is ill-advised at best, whether or not criminal liability will attach to those who are behind this move will have to be determined by the appropriate agencies of government,” he said on Twitter. John Ezekiel J. Hirro